Chef Luke Nguyen. Photo via diaCRITICS.

A counterpart question to “Why are there so many Asian food bloggers” and “Why are so many among them women” is “why are there so many prominent Asian chefs”? Celebrity chefs like USA’s Ming Tsai and Australia’s Luke Nguyen are introducing new foods to viewers on television. In Los Angeles, innovative foodies, many of them Asian, are driving the food truck boom and the expansion of non-traditional restaurants in “the 626.”

I don’t have an answer to this question, so I’m putting it out there for you all. Why do you think there so many prominent Asian people in the culinary professions? 

This morning’s blog post on Colorlines about Asian American chefs has some ideas to get us started:

As a new generation of Asian American chefs emerge, we see the how the second generation is developing a new, personal style of Asian American food that has a strong base in their family culture but also reflects their American upbringing. For some of us, food culture is all we have. It’s not about cooking fusion food. It’s not really about true authenticity either. It’s about creating a new and fun table of food that is reflective of their personal cross-cultural experiences.

  1. Romantic version – In a new world where our previously literate and vocal parents lost their voices, it was the only heritage they could give us. I come from Singapore, settled by mostly poor Sub-Contintental and Chinese migrants. We have a truly great food culture. It’s about all we have. Everything else, writing, theatre, film … is only just beginning…

    Economic version – ever read John Sung and his social history of American Chinese and their laundries and restaurants (it’s 2 different books?)

    As for Viet food in particular. It’s delicious. Who doesn’t like Pho?

  2. R.R.

    In most simplistic and general terms, is it the same way Whites dominate the corporate and political, Blacks have athletics and performing arts, Hispanics wih activism, and of course Asian Americans in the academic and culinary fields? Asians are always going to be associated and stereotyped with food chow mein, sushi, boba, kung pao chicken, orange chicken. The very first round of remarks and queries directed to and at Asians seem to invariably revolve around food.

    • Hm. When do you think the association between Asians and inventive food and haute cuisine began, though?

    • slice


      White people only dominate the corporate and the political sphere/realms mainly because they are the majority—not because they are actually better/stronger/smarter than anyone on the planet—that’s the damn racist white supremacist lie they have sold the whole world everyone of color in particular for centuries. Black/Asian folks and other people of color were slotted into certain professions only because in the past white people did NOT want to be challenged by or have to complete with them in any shape, form or fashion. So,then, Asian and Black folks simply learned to excel in the fields they were limited to being in by discrimination/prejudice.

      That’s the explanation for why that is—you didn’t really explain or challenge that,though—-what you described was done by design BY white people—it’s certainly not because Asian or folks folks are destined to only be successful in certain fields.

  3. slice

    That being said—I love some Chinese-American food—just to clarify that.

  4. Reblogged this on Stir-Fried But Sweet and commented:
    I don’t really know the answer why. But I hope the Food Network employs more Asian Americans like Aarti and Morimoto to have a diverse representation of home cooks and chefs

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